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Two sports teams play against each other …is it allowed for the winning team to be rewarded by the losing team with gifts etc. Assuming before …

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

Two sports teams play against each other …is it allowed for the winning team to be rewarded by the losing team with gifts etc. Assuming before they play they do not know who will win. Is this considered a gamble and therefore not allowed or can it be seen as a test of skill resulting in reward of prize or money?
May seem like an arb question but pls think about it cos a lot of ppl do this in different sports…especially the golf course


In the name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalāmu ῾alaykum wa Rahmatullāhi Wabarakātuh

In principle, if the prizes are awarded voluntarily, i.e. prior to the game, there is no formal decision obligating this exchange of prizes; it would be permissible and not be regarded a gamble.

Conversely, if the gifting is made conditional, i.e. prior to the game, both teams agree that the losing team will be obligated to offer some reward to the winning team, the exchanges will be impermissible and be regarded a gamble.

(Raddul Muhtār – vol.6, pg.385, M. H Saeed) [1]

NOTE: If such gifting has become a common practice such that, even without a formal decision, the prize giving is considered necessary and the winners expect them, here too, the gifting will not be permissible.

Nevertheless, if these unlawful gifts were received by anyone, the gifts should be returned to the owner. In the instance of being unable to trace the owner, the awards should be given to the poor and destitute.[2]


Ø  If in the above arrangement, i.e. where the winning team obligates the losing team to offer gifts, a third team is introduced into the game and say; if we (the third team or person win), the initial two teams are obligated to award us, but if we (the third team) lose, we are not obligated to give anything to the other two teams, this scenario would also be permissible and if any one of the (initial) two teams happen to win, they can accept the gifts from the other.

For example: Zayd and Umar want to vie one another. They decide that the loser has to award the winner, irrespective of who the loser may be. This is not permissible unless Bakar enters the contest and says, “If I lose, I will not give you two anything. However, if I win, you two have to give me something.” Now, if Umar wins, initially he was not allowed to accept Zayds prize (the loser), but now (since there is an introduction of a third party, in this agreement), he can take the prize given by Umar. Also, if Umar wins, Zayd as per agreement will award Umar something. This will be permissible to accept. In both the above mentioned instances, Bakar was also the loser (either been second or third), but will not be obligated to offer anything to the winner. If Bakar wins, Zayd and Umar will both have to gift Bakar with something.

(Raddul Muhtār – vol.6, pg.752, M. H Saeed)

Ø  If one of the two teams proposes to the other that, “If you defeat us, then we will award you something, however, if we beat you, you do not have to give anything”, in such an agreement, the obligation is only from one side and is therefore permissible.

Ø  If a third party puts a challenge to two or more teams, and offers a reward to the winning team, (without the two teams contributing to the prize in any way), it will be permissible to accept the gifts from the third party.

(Raddul Muhtār – vol.6, pg.753, M. H Saeed) [3]

For example: A teacher challenges two of his students with a quiz that, whoever gets a higher achievement, mark, score, etc., will be awarded a prize. This type of gifting is not only permissible but encouraged, for it generates and enhances the fervor and interest of learning in the students.

Yes, nowadays, gambling and betting has become a common practice amongst sportsmen and competitors. Unfortunately, many Muslim conveners, who in their eagerness of trying to create recreational services for the Muslim public have also, treaded a similar erroneous path. We therefore urge the facilitators and organizers of such activities to seek judicial counsel and consider the correct Shari position in this regard. Shariah has offered us alternatives, so let us make use of them!


Gambling basically refers to, when after paying for something there is still uncertainty in receiving the item paid for; one could either receive it or not. From the outset, understand that all types of gambling and betting are totally forbidden in Islam. This applies whether the gambling operates in the traditional forms or assumes any modern structure; both carry the same rule of prohibition. Simply changing the name of the gambling money and winnings to “entrance fees” in some cases and “prizes” in others will not change the ruling.

It is sad to note that there are numerous persons from all sectors of society that are duped into gambling without even knowing. Some of the modern forms of gambling are discreet are found almost everywhere waiting to seize the naïve public. Only a few examples will be highlighted to alert us from falling prey to these un-Islamic practices.

In the case of competitions and games, after paying the required fee, one is still doubtful of becoming the owner of the item paid for; one could either win or lose. Wherever there is the possibility of winning or losing and uncertainty of acquiring something paid for, is considered a gamble. Therefore, every such game, competition, etc. which carries this implication will be regarded as a gamble.


Ø    Gambling in schools: Gambling has stealthily infiltrated schools where, oblivious kids are duped into games and competitions which seem ‘fine’, but are actually a gamble. Competitions, raffles, etc. are conducted in schools and engineered such that, the kids will have contribute a certain fee and then only be entitled to qualify the final draw, and having the chance to be a winner in it. Children are lured into these competitions wanting to win prizes. We should educate our children to abstain from such competitions.

Ø    Commercial lotteries: also form part of this evil and are totally unjustifiable, even logically.

Ø    Amusement Machines: Another example of gambling, is the amusement machines such as the crane toy machine, etc. that are commonly stationed outside shops with charming toys and ‘gifts’ enticing the naïve public into getting them. Again, money is paid, but one is still skeptical of owning the item already paid for; one could either lose or win.

Ø    Playing card games: Teenagers and adults involve themselves in card games, cross word puzzles, etc. if conducted in a similar way; where money is pooled from each player and the winner alone is entitled to the sum, this too would not be permissible.

Should this principle occur in any other practice, where a fee is charged to entitle one to win (or lose), this too will fall within the ambit of gambling.


The following has been sourced and edited from the book Islam and Sport: [4]

The practice of gambling on organized sports with the aid of a gambling broker (bookmaker) is also a major form of gambling in many countries. Two glaring examples of sports gambling are the soccer betting pools and betting on Premier League soccer matches. Yes, horse racing is also a common form of sports gambling. In 1994, $14.5 billion wagers (bets) were placed on horse racing, in the Unted States alone.

As for the economic and social costs of problem gambling, a US study indicates that pathological and problem gamblers in the US cost society approximately US$5 billion per year and an additional US$40 billion in lifetime costs for productivity reduction, social services, and creditor losses. These calculations have not captured the intra-familial costs of divorce and family disruption associated in problem and pathological gambling. (Gambling Impact & Behavior Study, 1999).

It should also be remembered that gambling is not a one-off thing. It can easily become compulsive and may lead to countless family problems, social conflict, depression, theft, etc. in Thailand, were soccer gambling is extremely popular, a bank employee was arrested for stealing more than eight hundred thousand Rand in order to pay off his soccer gambling debts. These forms of gambling may claim to raise funds for humanitarian causes and charitable organizations and at the same time allow people to gain materialistically in the form of prizes. It is indeed sad to note that mankind has stooped to the level where rewards are needed to convince people to be charitable.

With bribery and gambling syndicates operating in many countries, it is very possible that corruption, bribery, match fixing and money scandals are more common than what the public are led to believe.

A local study also indicates that for young people who gamble frequently, they score lower than the other young people in terms of studying time, work performance, energy level, civic-mindedness, physical health and concern for their parents and family. Most important of all, their tendency to gamble and cheat for money is much higher than the others! (Study by the Society for Truth and Light)

May Allah Ta’ala protect the Muslim Ummah from falling prey to these evils, Ameen.

And Allāh Ta῾āla Knows Best
Wassalāmu ῾alaykum 

Ml. Zeyad Danka,
Student Dārul Iftā

Checked and Approved by:
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Dārul Iftā, Madrasah In῾āmiyyah

[1]  و حرم شرط الجعل من الجانبين بأن يقول ان سبق فرسك… (رد المحتار , باب مسال شتى)

[2]  و يردونه على أربابها ان عرفوهم والا تصدقوا بها . لأن سبيل الكسب الخبيث التصدق اذا تعذر الرد على صاحبه , (رد المحتار, كتاب الحظر و الاباحة)

[3]  لو قال واحد من النلس لجماعة من الفرسان او لاثنين … (رد المحتار , باب مسال شتى)

[4] [Islam and Sport, by: Afzal Ismail ; Published By: Madrasah Arabia Islamia]

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This answer was collected from Askimam.org, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.

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